Category: Feasts

Mass Of The Feast Of The Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary 

Mass Of The Feast Of The Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary 


​Saturday 8th September 2018

Weekday (22)

Vestment: White

Today’s Rosary: The Joyful Mystery
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

Today’s feast originated in Jerusalem towards the end of the fifth century. Mary was chosen in a special way to be the handmaid of the Lord and to play an important part in the history of salvation and in the mystery of our redemption. With the whole Church we honour Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Entrance
Antiphon.

Let us celebrate with joy the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for from her arose the sun of justice, Christ our God.

The Gloria in excels is (Glory to God in the highest) is said.

The Gloria

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
 

Collect

Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. Through our Lord…
 

FIRST READING

The time when she who is in labour pains has brought forth.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Micah (Micah 5:2-5a).

Thus says the Lord: You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour pains has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return to the sons of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And this shall be peace.
The word of the Lord.
Or the following:

FIRST
READING

Those whom God foreknew he also predestined.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 8:28-30).

Brethren: We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The word of the Lord.
 

RESPONSORIAL
PSALM 

Psalm 13:5.6 (R.Isaiah 61:10a)

R. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.
As for me, I trust in your merciful love.

Let my heart rejoice in your salvation. R.
I will sing to the Lord

who has been bountiful with me. R.
 

ALLELUIA

Alleluia. Blessed are you, O holy Virgin Mary, and worthy of all praise, because from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God. Alleluia.
 

GOSPEL

That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 1:1-16.18-23)

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah  the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father  of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

*Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and  her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us).
The Gospel of the Lord.
Shorter form: Matthew 1:18-23. Read between*
 

Today’s Reflection.

The work of the Holy Spirit in human life emerges as an apparent scandal. Mary is betrothed to joseph but before they come to live together, she is found to be pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Her child will challenge the prevailing understanding of the law, eat with tax collectors and sinners, and make claims that sound blasphemous. However, this is not a scandal but the work of God. Joseph never gets to carry out his quiet divorce; instead he cooperates in the divine plan. He takes Mary into his home because he realizes after the dream that her condition is not a scandal but the work of God. He shelters her and names the child ‘Jesus’. The naming is important for the very presence of the child is a catalyst for clarifying his identity and mission. He is the presence of God that does not depart even when he is no longer physically present. Let us imitate the example of the cooperation of Mary and Joseph in the divine plan of salvation.
 
Today’s Prayer
.

Thank God for today’s feast.

Take the song, “Holy Ghost, do it again, do it again in my life.
Father grant me a glimpse of your glory in the name of Jesus.
Pray for the grace to be attentive to the voice of the spirit.
Pray for revival of the authentic gifts of vision and revelation among believers

A Prayer By St. Padre Pio.

Stay With Me 

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have you present so that I do not forget you, you know how easily I abandon you. Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak, and I need you strength, that I may not fall so often, stay with me, Lord, for you are my life, and without you, I am without fervor. Stay with me, Lord, for you are my light, and without you, I am in darkness. Stay with me, Lord, to show me your will. Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love you very much, and always be in your company. Stay with me, Lord, if you wish me to be faithful to you. Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for you, a nest of love. Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need you. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need you, my Jesus, in this night of exile! Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need you. Let me recognize you as your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart. Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to you, if not by communion, at least by grace and love. Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of your presence, oh yes, I ask this of you! Stay with me, Lord, for it is you alone I look for, your love, your Grace, your Will, your Heart, your Spirit, because I love you and ask no other reward but to lobe you more and more. With a firm love, I will love you with all my heart while on earth and continue to love you perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

What Is The Assumption Of Mary? 

What Is The Assumption Of Mary? 

The Assumption of Mary

by Father William Saunders

Addressing a jubilant crowd of more than 500,000 people packed into St. Peter’s Square, Pope Pius XII solemnly defined in Munificentissimus Deus on Nov. 1, 1950, that the “Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” Although the solemn definition may have been at the midpoint of the 20th century, the belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother exemplifies the dynamism of revelation and the Church’s ongoing understanding of it as guided by the Holy Spirit.

Granted, the word Assumption does not appear in Sacred Scripture. For this reason many fundamentalists who literally interpret the Bible would have a difficulty with this belief. Nevertheless, we must first pause and reflect on the role of our Blessed Mother in the mystery of salvation, for this provides the foundation for the belief in the Assumption.

We firmly believe that from the first moment of her conception Mary was free of all sin, including Original Sin, by a special favor of almighty God. The Archangel Gabriel recognized her as “full of grace,” “blessed among women” andone with the Lord.” Mary had been chosen to be the Mother of our savior. By the power of the Holy Spirit, she conceived our Lord Jesus Christ, and through her, true God became also man, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

During her lifetime, although the Gospel citations are limited, Mary always presented our Lord to others: to Elizabeth and her son, John the Baptist, who leapt for joy in the womb at the presence of the Lord still in his own mother’s womb; to the simple shepherds as well as the wise Magi; and to the people at Cana, when our Lord acquiesced to His mother’s wish and performed the first miracle.

Moreover, Mary stood at the foot of the cross with her Son, supporting Him and sharing in His suffering through her love as only a mother could do. Finally, she was with the Apostles at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended and the Church was born. Therefore, each of us can step back and see Mary as the faithful servant of God who shared intimately in the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord.

For these reasons we believe that the promises our Lord has given to each of us of sharing eternal life, including a resurrection of the body, were fulfilled in Mary. Since Mary was free of Original Sin and its effects (one of which is corruption of the body at death), since she shared intimately in the life of the Lord and in His passion, death and resurrection, and since she was present at Pentecost, this model disciple appropriately shared in the bodily resurrection and glorification of the Lord at the end of her life. (Note that the solemn definition does not specify whether Mary physically died before being assumed or just was assumed; it simply states, “Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life…”)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, also quoting the Byzantine Liturgy, states, “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: ‘In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition (falling asleep) you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death'” (No. 966).

The belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother has been longstanding in our Church. We must remember that the early Church was preoccupied with resolving questions about Christ, particularly His incarnation and the hypostatic union (His divine and human natures). However, in addressing these questions, the Church gradually defined the titles of Mary as Mother of God and as New Eve, and the belief of the Immaculate Conception, all of which form the basis for the Assumption.

In Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII cited various Church Fathers to trace the longstanding tradition of the belief of the Assumption–St. John Damascene, St. Andrew of Crete, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and St. Gregory of Tours, to name a few. Bishop Theoteknos of Livias (c. 550- 650) delivered one of the most comprehensive early sermons concerning the Assumption: “For Christ took His immaculate flesh from the immaculate flesh of Mary, and if He had prepared a place in heaven for the Apostles, how much more for His mother; if Enoch had been translated and Elijah had gone to heaven, how much more Mary, who like the moon in the midst of the stars shines forth and excels among the prophets and Apostles? For even though her God-bearing body tasted death, it did not undergo corruption, but was preserved incorrupt and undefiled and taken up into heaven with its pure and spotless soul.”

St. John Damascene (d. 749) also recorded an interesting story concerning the Assumption: “St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.” In all, the Patristic Fathers defended the Assumption on two counts: Since Mary was sinless and a perpetual virgin, she could not suffer bodily deterioration, the result of Original Sin, after her death. Also, if Mary bore Christ and played an intimate role as His mother in the redemption of man, then she must likewise share body and soul in His resurrection and glorification.

The Byzantine Emperor Mauritius (582602) established the celebration of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15 for the Eastern Church. (Some historians speculate that the celebration was already widespread before the Council of Ephesus in 431). By the end of the 6th century, the West likewise celebrated the Feast of the Assumption. While the Church first emphasized the death of Mary, gradual shifts in both title and content occurred so that by the end of the 8th century, the Gregorian Sacramentary had prayers for Assumption Day.

The Feast of the Assumption gives each of us great hope as we contemplate this one facet of the beautiful woman of faith, our Blessed Mother. Mary moves us by example and prayer to grow in God’s grace, to be receptive to His will, to convert our lives through sacrifice and penance, and seek that everlasting union in the heavenly Kingdom.

In 1973, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in their letter Behold Your Mother,” stated, “Christ has risen from the dead, we need no further assurance of our faith. Mary assumed into heaven serves rather as a gracious reminder to the Church that our Lord wishes all whom the Father has given Him to be raised with Him. In Mary taken to glory, to union with Christ, the Church sees herself answering the invitation of the heavenly Bridegroom.”


Fr. Saunders is pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish and president of Notre Dame Institute, both in Alexandria.

Feast Of The Assumption Of The Blessed Virgin Mary – August 15

Feast Of The Assumption Of The Blessed Virgin Mary – August 15

The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary.

Rev
12 v 1

“And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”



Dear Faithful, today August 15th, the Catholic Faithful all over the earth celebrates together this glorious Feast Day of Our Lady, in commemoration of Her (Our Lady’s) Glorious Assumption Into Heaven.

Since the very beginning of The Church, the remains of those who had died in The Lord were lovingly gathered; sometimes at great risk of life. The Catacombs in Rome is such a place, where the remains or bones of those who had died were kept; and from the beginning The Faithful would meet there to pray for the souls of the departed and to offer The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass on behalf of their souls. The martyrs and those who had lived exemplary holy lives were believed to be already in Heaven and The Faithful would gather before their relics to implore their intercession from Heaven. This is evidenced not only in writings that survive to this day but also in the graffiti on the walls of the catacombs in Rome.  

The relics of countless Saints and Martyrs are with us today in Churches throughout the earth. Especially precious to us are the holy relics of The Apostles.
*But dear Faithful Catholic, you may travel the world OVER…. and you will never ever find ONE single relic of The Blessed Virgin Mary.

NOT ONE.

and that’s because there ARE none!

And don’t you think, dear reader, this to be an ASTONISHING fact, considering how The Early Church risked life and limb to lovingly gather up the remains of The Apostles and Martyrs to venerate them?

WHY then, are there no earthly remains of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus’ own Dear Mother?

The Answer is simple and clear: because She was ASSUMED BODY and SOUL into HEAVEN.

I. The Sacred Scriptures 

We began this message today with the passage from Revelation that show Our Blessed Lady crowned Queen of Heaven:

Rev. 12

“And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

The verses that follow show us the serpent, Satan the dragon making war with her ‘seed’, in fulfillment of the very FIRST prophesy in Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”

*Are you having great trials and spiritual battles today?

GOOD!

It’s a sure sign you’re a child of Mary and the devil hates you because you’re ‘The Woman’s offspring’ through Christ her SON!

St.John called her ‘WOMAN‘ in his Gospel and he calls her ‘WOMAN‘ AGAIN in The Revelation: for SHE IS The Second EVE; the prophesied ‘WOMAN‘ that was to COME that would CRUSH the Serpent‘s HEAD when She said FIAT! YES! To God’s Redemptive Plan.

That’s why the devil HATES her so much, and that’s why souls that hate The Holy Catholic Faith very soon began to blaspheme MARY, Our Blessed Mother.
*But the verse JUST before this, tells us more:

“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, loud noises, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.” 

Revelations 11:19

St. John first saw The Temple of God and The Ark of The Covenant, and immediately in the next verse he sees The Woman clothed with the SUN and crowned QUEEN of Heaven.

THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY IS THE ARK of The COVENANT.

II.
 The Catechism

What exactly do we confess with the ancients in The Dogma of The Assumption of Mary?

1
 The Dogma which recognizes The Blessed Virgin Mary’s singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection by which she was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when the course of her earthly life was finished. (Catechism of The Catholic Church, Glossary: p. 867)

2   #966  “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death. (Lumen Gentium 59; cf Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus). 

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

“In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.”

(Byzantine Liturgy, Tropariion-Feast of The Dormition, Aug.15th).
*So often those who try to refute The Holy Catholic Faith accuse The Holy Catholic Church of ‘inventing Doctrines and Dogmas.’

But here we see that The Eastern Churches confess this Dogma together with us in a very similar way, calling it ‘The Feast of The Dormition of The Blessed Virgin Mary.’

But is there further historical evidence that proves this Dogma that all Catholics are obliged- indeed REJOICE!- to receive?

III
.  The Assumption: Saints and Fathers.



*This longstanding Sacred Tradition of the belief of The Assumption can be found in the historical record in the writings of many Saints, most notably St. John Damascene, St. Andrew of Crete, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and St. Gregory of Tours. In the interest of time we will examine but a few today, that you might be strengthened and confirmed in The Holy Catholic Faith once delivered to The Saints.

1
.  325 A.D. – Eusebius of Caesarea 

Eusebius wrote a History of The Early Church. He wrote that not only was our Blessed Lady assumed into Heaven but that it had been reveled to her by The Holy Ghost afore hand.

He wrote:

The virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, is taken up to her son in heaven, as some write had been revealed to her.”

(Chronological Tables Year 46 A.D. in some manuscripts).


2
.   262 A.D. – St. Gregory the Wonderworker.

Nearly a 100 years BEFORE Eusebius, The Early Church Historian, St. Gregory was preaching The Assumption:

“Come, then, you too, dearly beloved, and let us chant the melody which has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, Arise, O Lord, into Your rest; You, and the ark of Your sanctuary. For the holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary. … Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline your ear, and forget your own people and your father’s house; so shall the King greatly desire your beauty: for He is the Lord your God, and you shall worship Him. Hearken, O daughter, to the things which were prophesied beforetime of you, in order that you may also behold the things themselves with the eyes of understanding.” 

(Homily 1 on the Annunciation).
*In this homily or sermon by St. Gregory The Wonder-Worker, (AD 272) not only do we find The Early Church confessed The Assumption of Mary, but they also already had a THEOLOGY of Mary

(1). That She was The Ark of The Covenant and (2). That she was and is, Queen of Heaven.

He quotes two prophecies about Mary’s Assumption: One in which David tells the Messiah to “Arise” with His ark (Psalms 132:8), (which Gregory says is Mary), and a SECOND which is about the vision of the Queen of Heaven standing at the right hand of the Messiah (Psalms 45: 11). 

In preaching that Mary “arose” bodily and that she is now in heaven, body and soul, St. Gregory is one of the EARLIEST witnesses in the historical record to the belief in Mary’s Assumption. (3). A mere 500 years after Pentecost, The Holy Catholic Church was still preaching and confessing The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary.

3. Bishop Theoteknos of Livias (c. 550650). 

“For Christ took His immaculate flesh from the immaculate flesh of Mary, and if He had prepared a place in heaven for the Apostles, how much more for His mother; if Enoch had been translated and Elijah had gone to heaven, how much more Mary, who like the moon in the midst of the stars shines forth and excels among the prophets and Apostles? For even though her God-bearing body tasted death, it did not undergo corruption, but was preserved incorrupt and undefiled and taken up into heaven with its pure and spotless soul.”

4. St. John Damascene (d. 749) writes this concerning the Assumption: 

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles confessed that her   was taken up to heaven.” 


5. 
Liber Requiei Mariae – 200 A.D. – “And our Lord said to them: ‘Let them bring the body of Mary into the clouds.’ … And when they arrived together in Paradise, they placed the body of Mary beside the tree of life. And they brought her soul and placed it upon her body. And our Lord dismissed his angels to their places.” 

(Liber Requiei Mariae 89, as it appears in Shoemaker, Ancient Traditions of Mary’s Dormition and Assumption. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. p. 163-164).
*Dear Faithful, time does not permit us here to list more quotes from Saints Confessors and Doctors of The Church who joyfully confessed the glorious Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary; but these things we have written today that we might rejoice together with them in The Assumption of Our Blessed Lady.

JESUS has a MOMMA!

and He gave her to us from The Cross at His Most Sacred Passion to be our very OWN dear mother: and when her race on earth was finished and she fell asleep, The Lord Jesus-Who conquered death and IS The Resurrection and The Life, RAISED UP His Dear Mother into Heaven to be with Him forever, a foretaste of our OWN Resurrection-

and He crowned her!

Queen of Heaven!

Queen of Saints and Angels!

Where with Jesus and all The Saints and Angels she intercedes for us today! 
HAVE you THANKED her today, for saying ‘FIAT’ to Jesus that your soul might be saved?
Let’s do that right NOW! 

Pray with me, first in the words of the 

Sub Tuum Praesidium the most ancient known-prayer to Our Lady-(AD 200) and then an AVE:
+We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God; 

despise not our petitions in our necessities, 

but deliver us always from all dangers, 

O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Amen.

AVE
MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
GLORIA PATRI, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Rejoicing in The Assumption of The Blessed  Virgin Mary.

Dear Faithful, you help us GREATLY when you SHARE this Articles. 

We thank each one of you and may The Lord bless you abundantly. Amen. 

Martyrs Of The Church – St. Lawrence And The Rest Of Us

Martyrs Of The Church – St. Lawrence And The Rest Of Us

*St. Lawrence and the Rest of Us.*

(Homily for August 10, 2018)
_“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” *(John 12:24-25)*_
Today, the church remembers one of her greatest heroes; Saint Lawrence. He was a Roman deacon under Pope St. Sixtus II. As a deacon in Rome, Lawrence was charged with the responsibility for the material goods of the Church, and the distribution of alms to the poor. 
During a time of persecution, Lawrence, knowing that he would be arrested like the Pope, sought out the poor, widows, and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had on hand, selling even the sacred vessels to increase the sum. When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he imagined that the Christians had a considerable treasure. 
He sent for Lawrence and said, “You Christians say we are cruel to you, but that is not what I have in mind. I am told that your priests offer in gold, that the sacred blood is received in silver cups, that you have golden candlesticks at your evening services. Now, your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures, the emperor needs them to maintain his forces. God does not cause money to be counted: He brought none of it into the world with him – only words. Give me the money, therefore, and be rich in words.”
Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. “I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory.” After three days he gathered a great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned and widowed persons and put them in rows. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, “These are the treasures of the Church.”
The Prefect was so angry he had a great gridiron prepared, with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence’s body placed on it. Lawrence died like a piece of meat being roasted slowly over a hot charcoal fire. We remember him today especially for his heroic act of charity. As St. Paul teaches in today’s first reading: “He who sows sparingly reaps sparingly, and he who sows bountifully also reaps bountifully (2 Cor. 9:6). God loves a cheerful giver.
St. Lawrence did not simply give to the poor, his giving was at the risk of his own life. The best time to give to the poor is precisely when giving pains you the most. Such giving is truly sacrificial and it does bear fruit. Jesus says unless a grain of wheat falls and dies, it remains alone but after it dies, it bears much fruit. Whenever we make sacrifices for God’s sake we are giving away grains of wheat like a farmer scattering seeds on the ground. Such seeds eventually grow to become bigger plants and seeds.

Let us learn from St. Lawrence the need to be charitable and the willingness to let go of our life itself so that we can have a better life in heaven.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, like St. Lawrence, may I one day be with you in paradise. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you*
*(Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, Psalm 112:1-9, John 12:24-26).*
Fr. Abu

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